The Real Toy Story…

Each year a new toy falls into fashion. In 1952 Mr. Potato never had his head on straight. 1996 brought the Elmo Doll and his very ticklish tummy. Outer space hit Earth with the introduction of Furby in 1998. Barbie is the girl who has done it all since 1959. Koosh balls, Play-doh, Pogs, Cabbage Patch Kid Dolls, Raggedy Ann and Andy provide us with hours of entertainment. We love and play with them until their hair turns shabby and they’ve lost their malleability.  They take center stage in the imaginary worlds we create for them.

As we gain experience and maturity, toys slowly lose their luster. They’re pushed to the back of shelves and shoved into toy boxes to collect dust and make way for the next big thing that’s out on the market. Red yarn hair, hot pink clay, and a potato with a face don’t quite have the zip they once did in our lives, and so each each year a new toy falls out of fashion.

Summer camp, however, is an experience that never fades. The magic that we experience while in our haven in the woods follows us an entire lifetime. Dust bunnies never gather around our camp memories. Camp never makes way for the next big thing. It is the most precious gift we can give a child.

What are you giving your kids this holiday season?

Camps for Girls

You Have Got To Be Kidding!

Our campers are talented! We have pianists, jugglers, gymnasts, singers, and actresses! Girls who can rub their belly and pat their heads, touch their tongue to their nose, and hula hoop! Girls who can whistle, snap, and click their tongue.  Camp girls who make up hand-jives and dance ’til the cows come home!

Today, I feel honored to share one of my talents— when I was fifteen I wrote a few jokes of my own. Here’s a sampling— a giant list of corny jokes for kids —sure to impress all your friends!

Don’t worry; they’re 100% funny kid friendly!

Q: Why is Big Bird big, yellow, and feathery?

A: Because if he was small, yellow, and nuggety he would be a corn on the cob!

Q:What do you call a group a grizzlies cracking up together?

A: A BEARel of laughs!

Girl Campers Outside

Q: What do people who love to brag on themselves carry their papers in?

A: A GLOATbook!

Q: What is a UPS worker’s favorite sport?

A: Boxing!

Q: What type of chair goes to wild concerts?

A: A rocking chair!

Q: What vegetable do you eat when you want to be very fast?

A: Hustle sprouts!

Q: What’s a livestock’s favorite math tool?

A: A COWculator!

Q: What type of shoe stops up drains?

A: A clog!

Q: What type of chair is good at yoga?

A: A folding chair!

Q: What soothes a sick stomach and gives you neck support at night?

A: A PILL-ow

Q: What time is it when people are throwing pieces of bread at your head?

A: Time to DUCK!

Q: What is a builder’s favorite kind of paper?

A: Construction paper!

Q: When playing spades with The Donald, why did the dealer lose?

A: He handed Donald Trump!

Q: Why couldn’t the farmer find his way out of the corn field?

A: He was in the middle of a maize!

Q: Which medical professional likes to break things?

A: A DENTist!

Q: What do you call a cow who always takes your stuff?

A: A mooooocher!

Q: What MTV show do bass fishermen watch?

A: The Reel World!

Q: What do you call a wild dog that you can’t find?

A: A WHEREwolf!

Q: How would you describe the views a peppermint gets while looking at the Blue Ridge Mountains?

A: Breath Taking!

Q: How are reciprocals like gymnasts?

A: They flip!

Q: Who is Burt’s Bees wax’s roommate?

A: Ernie’s bees wax!

Q: What sport do people who listen to loud, deep music from their stereo play?

A: BASS Ball!

Q: Which island of the coast of Africa does Dale Ernhart Jr. like?


Q: What happened to the gun at work?

A: He got FIRED!

Q: What happened to the pottery at work?

A: He got fired!

Q: Why was the light bulb cold?

A: He was in the shade!

Q: What part of your body says one thing but does another?

A: A HIP-ocrit!

Q: Why do Grizzlies break their pencils?

A: They BEAR down too heard!

Q: What salad topping do you find at ACE hardware?

A: Wrench Dressing!

Q: What  happened when the master detective closed the door behind him?

A: He Sherlocked himself out!

Q: Why was the pig red?

A: He was out all day BACON in the sun!

Q: Which relative chimes at you every hour?

A: A Grandfather Clock!

Q: Why was the painter hot?

A: He put on an extra coat!

Q: What kind of hug straitens your teeth?


Q: What food preservation container is lost?

A: A TuperWHERE!

Q: What type of pirate testifies in court?

A: An “Aye” “Aye” Witness!

Q: Which two months are dishonest?

A: FIBruary and JuLIE

Q: Which four months are cold?

A: Septmebrrrrrrrr, Octobrrrrrrrr, Novembrrrrrrr, and Decemberrrrrrrrr!

Q: Which coloring utensil makes you tired?

A: A craYAWN!

Fairy Godmothers

It happens on a single fallen eyelash… when the clock strikes 11:11…with every dandelion seed whisked off by the wind… on a heads-up penny…. on a shooting star…. after those birthday candles have lost their flame- a wish is made. A secret desire thrown out to the world with no certainty that it will ever be granted.

Every year girls wish for a magical place that they can call home. A place where muffins are served up warm and sweet every morning. A place to wear silly costumes and to belly laugh. A place filled with a lake to swim and rocks to climb. A place to find their best friend.

They wish for a moment when they can just be themselves. A time when all they have to think about is being a girl, playing, and outdoor living. A time when they can start and end their day with a big, bright smile.

Unlike the wishes set to shooting stars or dandelions, these come true every summer at Rockbrook. Counselors become fairy godmothers and say, “your wish is granted.”

Explore. Dream. Discover.


Mark Twain poked at the nation a bit. He elbowed us and said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” He encouraged us to get up and live!

As camp counselors we perfectly personify this assertion. Every summer we trade in air-conditioned rooms for mountain-chilled air, polished, made-up looks for muddy, natural complexions, and car wheels for cartwheels. We explore the splendor of the natural world. We dream of creating a world of beauty for our campers. We discover the sheer joy a child can bring to life.

Come June slow, sleepy mornings brought on by a sounding alarm clock transform into a rising bell, fresh fruit and songs sung between bites at breakfast. Hands normally busy texting and typing are suddenly paddling, french-braiding, and slipping snail mail into the post. We explore and desire the simple life. We dream in fairy parties and  jungle breakfasts. We discover what summer means to us.

As the days grow longer and the weather warmer, we no longer flip a switch to fade the lights, but watch on as the sun’s gentle pinks and oranges settle under the horizon as we welcome twilight’s lightening bugs with open arms. Time typically spent choosing the day’s outfit and honing a particular outward appearance is devoted to studying the inside of a person; the real beauty and essence of them. We explore the depth of a real friendship. We dream and strive to be the best role model we can be for our campers. We discover that we are capable of things we never imagined possible.

Twenty years from now look back on a life well lived.

Take our December Challenge

This week we sent out the second installment of our Rockbrook staff newsletter. Beyond including tricks of the trade (how to tell a proper joke- har har) and recipes for holiday treats (chocolaty brownies!), we coaxed our counselors to dive into the joys of the holiday season and take on a challenge that will keep their days merry and bright.

See if you can take on our December challenge.

Can you complete seven of the following tasks by the end of the month?

  • Treat a friend to a candy cane
  • Turn off your TV for the entirety of a week
  • Build a gingerbread house
  • Laugh so hard your stomach hurts
  • Skip
  • Play a board game
  • Roast a marshmallow
  • Look at old photo albums
  • Light a candle
  • Join a sports team
  • Dance
  • Try a new recipe
  • Pay for a stranger’s meal at a restaurant
  • Sing in the shower
  • Plant a flower indoors
  • Begin to learn a new language
  • Reconnect with an old friend
  • Learn a new skill

Holiday Fever All Summer Long

We’ve all experienced holiday fever. Our bodies feel warm and tingly, our cheeks turn rosy, our heart beats faster, and a slight shiver warms our spine. A holiday fever can be brought on by anything- snowflakes, hot chocolate, presents, tinsel, strung popcorn, twinkling lights, reindeer sweaters, holiday jingles, Yule log, greeting cards, carolers, chestnuts, or open fires (just to name a few.) In extreme cases, we catch this fever all month long.

holiday red and green cookies

Unfortunately, in our lives, January 1st becomes the cool washcloth which breaks our holiday fever. Upon entering the new year, our body temperature subsides and our cheeks pale. Joyfully cooking a holiday meal for family and friends makes way for our mad dashes to the grocery store where upon we return home, exhausted, and with barely enough energy to cook our recent purchases.  Snow is no longer the canvas which creates snowball fights and frosty angels, but an irksome condition that prohibits travel and turns into a brown, dirty slush which seeps into our boots and nips at our toes. Chestnuts take far too long to roast and open fires seem much too dangerous an endeavor. Come January, once charming and enchanting holiday tasks become everyday annoyances.

Camp holiday decorations

Luckily, there’s a medical breakthrough to combat all this. The doctor can write us a prescription to regain our fever (think of this as a reverse Rx.) Spend your summer at camp. If followed to doctor’s orders, the opportunity to work at camp is one of indescribable value. One dose and ordinary things reclaim their magic and our cheeks flush rosy once again. Peanut butter on apples, paddles on water, rain on roofs, mud on sneakers- all spectacular when you have “camp fever.” Camp gives us the best gift we could ask for-holiday cheer all summer long.

How to Conquer Your Fears

It was Franklin D. Roosevelt who reminded us that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Camp provides one of the most gentle, nurturing backdrops to encourage girls to face their fears and conquer their anxieties. As counselors we are an integral part of this process. Here are some simple tools to help your campers overcome three common fears at camp.

The Fear of Water

  1. Start by encouraging the camper to ease into the water. Sit by the lake with only her toes in the water.
  2. Once the camper is comfortable, move to standing calf-deep in the water. Ask the camper to splash herself with water on her thighs. Once confident with this, splash water on her arms and chest.
  3. When the camper feels comfortable submerging most of her body in the water help her learn how to get her face wet.
  4. Sprinkle only “raindrops” on the camper’s face and hair, to mimic the sensation of a shower. Once the camper’s hair is wet ask her to dip her chin underneath the water. Have her then tilt her face toward the surface of the water and get her forehead wet. Once the camper feels very comfortable performing these tasks, move to teach her to blow bubbles underwater.
  5. Place your index finger in front of the camper’s face. Tell her to imagine your finger is a birthday candle that she must blow out. Once the camper masters the blowing technique, slowly lower your finger having the camper repeat the process until your finger is under the surface of the water and she must have her mouth is the water to “blow out the candle.”

The Fear of Spiders

  1. Begin by educating your camper about spiders. Explain how important spiders our to our ecosystem and how many good things they do for us. Describe how most spiders do not wish to engage with humans (we are bigger than they are- that’s scary to a little, old spider!), primarily eat insects, and lack the capability to bite a human even if they wanted to.
  2. Next introduce your camper to some spider-friendly books. In some cases, the more pictures the better, so that the camper can interact imaginatively with a friendly image of a spider. Other campers will respond to you reading aloud about spiders before bed. Some of our favorite books include Charlotte’s Web, Simon and Schuster Children’s Guide to Insects and Spiders, The Very Busy Spider, and The Eensy Weensy Spider Freaks Out!
  3. Incorporate spider toys as part of your cabin decorations. These could be paper hangings your campers have designed and constructed themselves, toy models of spiders, or stuffed animal spiders. This will help the camper become acquainted with both the form and function of spiders.
  4. Find a real spider (at camp this is not hard!) Have the camper stand next to you, but at a distance to the spider that she feels comfortable. While in the physical proximity of a spider have your camper recall all the ways in which spiders benefit society. Help her to visually identify different parts of the spider’s body and describe their function.

The Fear of Heights

  1. Encourage your camper to sign up for gymnastics. Here, she can begin by balancing on the low balance beam and work towards balancing on the full beam.
  2. Once your camper has slowing exposed herself to these, move to take her on a hike where she can clearly see the altitude increasing, but is assured a gentle path with solid footing.
  3. Before beginning the hike establish at “scared scale” with your camper. Tell her that at different points in the hike you would like to gauge her fear level. One representing “very comfortable” and ten representing “extremely fearful.”Ask her what number she feels comfortable reaching and tell her the moment she feels that number you will immediately turn around. Each day challenge your camper to get a little farther on the hike.
  4. Once a camper has acclimated to a height where she feels comfortable spend time with her in this space. Encourage her to engage in activities that relax her in these elevated places. For example, bring a bottle of lemonade for your camper and her cabin mates  to enjoy at a mountain summit, or have your camper and her friends make bracelets on a waterfall bridge.

When helping a camper overcome a fear it is important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all policy that will work for every girl. The key is patience. Your job is to help a camper face her fear when she is ready, but only she can decide when the time is right.

The Heart of a Wooded Mountain

Dear Camp Counselor

Here is just a quick reminder of how important you are.  If a camper and a parent were to write to our staff, here is what they might say:

Dear Counselor,

You are my hero. When I grow up I want to be just like you. I think it’s so cool how you use all those funny voices when you read to our cabin before bed! And you made me discover I like carrots! I told my mom I thought they were gross, but then you were eating them last Thursday at lunch (you remember the day you wore your blue shorts and had your hair in a pony tail and ate three pieces of chicken and told us about that squirrel who had that big acorn? Yeah- that day) so I gave them a try. Presto! I love them now! The other day, when you french braided my hair in two braids, I loved it so much I wrote a whole letter home, just about that! I’m so glad you are my counselor because you are the coolest person I have ever met.


Your Camper, Suzie

Camp Counselor Hugs Campers

Dear Counselor,

I am trusting you with my heart and soul. I am leaving in your care the single, most important thing in my life. I know that it would be ridiculous of me to ask you to put exactly one tablespoon of sugar in Suzie’s corn flakes, or to make sure that she brushes her teeth for exactly two minutes before bed, so I’ll just ask you this- The time you spend with Suzie this summer will shape her entire life. Every compliment you give her, every time you smile at her, every story you tell her, every story she tells you will mean the world to her. Knowing that her counselor cares deeply for her will put Suzie one step closer to growing into the strong, competent, amazing woman I know she has the potential to become. For the next three weeks my child’s life is in your hands. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that you will tend to it with love and kindness.


Suzie’s  Mother

Hardy Har Har

Camper Playing outside

Tickle your taste buds- hit your funny bone- deep down belly laugh! At camp we love jokes. We thought you might enjoy these old standbys by none other than Prairie Home Companion’s  Garrison Keillor.

Warning: Do not consume milk while reading these jokes! It may come out your nose!

Knock Knock- Who’s there?- Four eight.- Four eight who?- Four eight’s a jolly good fellow!

What would the traffic cop charge a crocodile with? -Tail gatoring!

How many hipsters does it take to change a light bulb?- …’s a pretty obscure number- you’ve probably never heard of it.

Why did the piano get locked out of his house?- He lost his keys

What do you call an alligator in a vest?- An investigator

How do you fix a broken tomato?- Tomato paste

What’s a tree’s favorite drink?- Root beer

How does a dog talk with his tail?- With a tail-aphone

The teacher says to her student: “Give me a sentence using the words green, pink, and yellow.” The third grader said: “Okay. The phone went green, green and I pinked it up and said ‘yellow!'”

What vegetable are bugs most afraid of?- Squash

Knock knock- Who’s there?- Watson- Watson who? Not much, watson new with you?

The UN-virtual Social Network

Facebook has become one of society’s guilty pleasures. With the click of a mouse, this tool allows us to reconnect with old friends, keep up with new ones, and easily put our own lives on display. We hand over the drama of living to a  computer screen and remain safe and disengaged in the comfort of our homes.

If what we are searching for is a sense of community, then Facebook certainly seems to create one for us. You can interact with a friend at any moment in time. Just click on her profile and there she is; her face, her words, her thoughts and opinions, her conversations with other people- all as easily accessible as air. Once more, if, by coincidence, you happen to be logged into Facebook at the same time as one of your friends you can even “chat” with her. Facebook keeps us more connected than ever!

Girl Mountain Climbing

But does it really? Virtual social networking cannot provide you with butterflies in your stomach when you meet up with an old friend after a leave of absence. This avenue of communication completely erases tone, crescendos, emotion and emphasis from the telling of a story, leaving it flat and lifeless. You’ll never feel the warm breath of laughter or savor the same full-bodied meal as the person across from you.

Camp coaxes us out of our dark rooms flooded with blue light and into the natural world filled with beauty and splendor. At camp we loosen our grip from the mouse and really feel things; the toughness of a rope, the mud under our fingernails, a horse’s mane, the sun on our face, the joy of a real community. No exclamation point, italic, or emoticon is worth an experience like that.